New York Giants: The two RBs backing up Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants responded to the Saquon Barkley injury by signing Devonta Freeman. The former Falcons running back looks to be their starter for the rest of the year as Barkley’s ACL recovers. However, Freeman is one running back in a rotation of multiple. With the team’s best player out, it’s reasonable to assume the Giants will give more touches to their backup backs this year.

Who is manning those backup spots? Largely, that’s one new signing and one player that’s been with the Giants for the past three seasons.

Dion Lewis

Former Patriots and Titans running back Dion Lewis was signed during the offseason by the Giants. At the time, it appeared he was just a backup to Saquon Barkley. In this role, Lewis looked like a pretty good fit. After all, he had rushed for nearly 900 yards during his best season and while his performance fell off more recently, the Giants didn’t need him for a large role.

But Lewis might be getting more touches than expected thanks to the team’s current situation. This may be a chance for him to help revive his career. It’s been trending backwards for the past couple of seasons, but we have yet to see much of Lewis as a Giant.

During the 2019 season he fell from 517 yards to 209 while competing with Derrick Henry. It’s hard to tell just how much of that is because of Lewis himself, though. After all, Henry would be considered stiff competition to any back in the league.

In his two appearances for the Giants, Lewis has 11 rushes and 21 yards so far. Not the greatest numbers, but those may see a change. Lewis hardly would have expected to fill in for Saquon Barkley full time in week two against the Bears, but that’s what ended up happening. Presumably, being more mentally in the game next time will prevent such bad numbers in yards per carry.

Wayne Gallman

The other main option behind Devonta Freeman is Wayne Gallman. Gallman actually predates Barkley but he’s only shown flashes of potential, never starring for the Giants. Still, there’s something impressive about his ability to avoid the cut. Even this season when the Giants brought in Lewis, Gallman was able to keep his job for another year.

With no Barkley in the picture and an unfamiliar free agent as the starter, Gallman may get a chance to touch the ball more – at least to trial his skills and see if he’s worth putting in the rotation. He had 476 rushing yards in 2017 but was never able to repeat the performance as Barkley came in and took over the top spot.

The following seasons, Gallman had 176 and 110 yards. Not enough to stand out, but those numbers have been enough to allow him to keep his job. Gallman only has one carry this season so far, in the opener. That was a 14 yard run, but peculiarly, he received no carries against Chicago even after Barkley was hurt.

Don’t expect Gallman to become the main option – but this season may just be a chance for him to justify his continued presence as a backup.

Joe Judge Settling in to Life Without Saquon Barkley

New York Giants, Devonta Freeman

The New York Giants lost star running back Saquon Barkley to a torn ACL for the season last Sunday in Chicago and now face the prospect of a running back-by-committee approach.

Then again, whoever holds the hot hand could end up getting the reps.

“He may be the guy for that moment,” head coach Joe Judge told reporters about the hot hand on Thursday. “Maybe he’s the guy for that game plan the way things are working and clicking. But I’d say within every specific game plan, we’re going to always look to use all of the players we have at the game, and make sure we have enough combinations to go ahead and create advantages for ourselves.”

Right now, the Giants have three players that will be vying for reps at running back – Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman and the newly signed Devonta Freeman.

“I think you just use whatever you have on your roster, whether it’s a guy like Saquon, we still have Dion Lewis who we rely heavily on, and Wayne Gallman who we rely heavily on,” said Judge. “Obviously, Saquon’s situation, we all feel for him. He’s going to work his butt off to get back here as fast as possible.

We’re happy to have Devonta. The thing I see with him is he’s a ball guy. You can tell this guy has a lot of passion for the game, he has a lot of experience, he plays hard, he practices hard. I was very impressed yesterday out at practice with the fire he practiced with, the attention to detail, how fast he picked up on a lot of our system. He’s an experienced guy, but sometimes experience in other systems doesn’t always translate over to knowing the alphabet of what you’re doing. But he really did a good job of understanding what we’re doing in practice, being able to get in the huddle, break the huddle, know what to do and do it very effectively. It was very encouraging on day one.”

Time will tell how this all pans out but one thing is for sure, all three can play and all three are currently healthy.

 

 

New York Giants: Positions To Keep An Eye On With Cuts Around The Corner

New York Giants

The New York Giants will set their fifty-three man roster in a week from today. Over this next week, the team will be determining who will stay and who will go. The Giants do have a few positions of need, and they also have few positions of strength. Ahead of camp cuts, which positions are worth keeping a close eye on?

UDFA Wide Receivers

Behind Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Golden Tate, the Giants have a positional battle at the wide receiver position. Corey Coleman will be competing with a number of rookie wide receivers to win the fourth wide receiver position.

New York has four undrafted free agent wide receivers currently on the roster. Derrick Dillon, Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack, and Cody White were all signed by the Giants this offseason. They have all had their fair share of ups and downs in camp, but Victor and Mack have had a few more standout plays.

There are also two other receivers making their names known in camp: David Stills and Alex Bachman. Both players have impressed in practice and could earn themselves a spot on the final roster. For all of these wide receivers, this next week of practice is crucial.

New York Giants: Wayne Gallman Sends Reminder That’s He’s Still Here

New York Giants, Wayne Gallman

The New York Giants offensive backfield starts with Saquon Barkley and then there’s everyone else. Barkley has been the focal point of the Giants’ offense from the day he stepped through the doors at 1925 Giants Drive in 2018 and little has happened to change that.

But the NFL has a way of usurping even the best laid plans. Last year, Barkley suffered a high ankle sprain in the Giants’ Week 3 victory over Tampa Bay and did not recover fully until very late in the season. The Giants’ offense suffered greatly without a healthy Barkley.

The rushing game, especially suffered. Barkley still led the Giants with 217 ruses for 1,003 yards but no other running back had more than 30 carries. They realized more depth was needed.

This offseason, they added veteran Dion Lewis and recently signed Tavian Feaster. Those two join Barkley, fullback Eli Penny and fourth year pro Wayne Gallman to comprise the Giants’ 2020 backfield.

Gallman was a forgotten man in 2019. Somehow the former Clemson star landed in Pat Shurmur’s doghouse. Gallman had just 44 total touches for 212 total yards and three scores. To be fair, a concussion sustain in Week vs Minnesota curtailed his chance to shine in Barkley’s absence. But even after the was cleared two weeks later, he could not distinguish himself. By seasons’ end, Gallman was a regular on the gameday inactive list.

With a new coaching staff comes a new opportunity for Gallman. In Friday’s Blue-White scrimmage, Gallman made the most of his snaps by scoring two touchdowns, one on  43-yard run in the first quarter and the second on a five-yard pass from backup QB Cooper Rush in the third period.

The Giants’ coaches have taken notice that Gallman can help this team and in this league, you can never have enough depth.

“He’s a guy who’s really flashed over the course of the entire training camp,” head coach Joe Judge said  of Gallman after the scrimmage. “He’s a guy that we’ve challenged and told him we want to see how he responds in competitive situations. Obviously tonight, he had a good night. But he’s a guy that’s shown a lot of potential throughout his career. He’s shown a lot of improvement for us, and we’re happy with the night he had tonight.”

Yes, it was a very comforting to see that there is more to the Giants’ backfield than Barkley. Gallman has apparently won over Judge but he also has impressed his position coach, Burton Burns, who comes to Giants after coaching running backs at Clemson (1999-2006) and Alabama (2007-19) the past two decades.

“I see a guy that’s coming to work every day, that’s working really hard,” Burns told reporters when asked about Gallman earlier this month. “Again, he is very interested in improving. I had a history with Wayne as far as we competed against his team in college. I kind of followed his career, I knew him a little.

His personality is like all the players that I’ve coached. He’s got his competitive nature. I know I’m overusing that word, but it keeps coming up. He’s also got that ‘what can I do to get better (mentality)’. I know it’s the college level and the pro level. One thing about all those guys, it doesn’t matter, they are looking for that next step they can take.”

Just another refreshing example of how this coaching staff is bringing the best out of this roster.

 

New York Giants: What To Expect From The Backup Running Backs?

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

The New York Giants are a struggling and rebuilding team that lacks star talent. Except for the running back position. The Giants have one of the best running backs in the NFL in Saquon Barkley. Some may argue that he is the best running back in the NFL. But last season, Barkley was injured and sidelined for three games.

The Giants struggled to run the ball without Barkley in the lineup. They even struggled to run the ball upon his return to the lineup. Barkley returned extraordinarily fast from his high ankle sprain and played through the “nagging” ankle injury the rest of the season.

If Saquon Barkley were to go down again, are the Giants prepared? Even if he is healthy, is there a competent backup running back on this roster to play in relief of a fatigued Saquon Barkley?

Be sure to check out this video below for a better understanding of why Saquon Barkley struggled in 2019:

Dion Lewis

This offseason, the Giants signed former Patriots and Titans running back Dion Lewis as a backup running back. Dion Lewis had his best season in 2017 with the Patriots, rushing for 896 yards and receiving for 214 yards to go along with 9 total touchdowns. Lewis has been a reliable receiver out of the backfield throughout his career and was a fine complement to Derrick Henry’s hard-nosed running style in Tennessee.

Lewis is the oldest running back on the roster and likely the best in pass protection. Barkley has struggled in that department through his first two professional seasons. Dion Lewis could help improve the Giants’ pass protection in 2020.

New York Giants: Why Dion Lewis is an upgrade over Wayne Gallman

New York Giants, Dion Lewis

The New York Giants’ front office made big moves this offseason to improve both the offense and defense. During free agency, the Giants’ signed veteran running back, Dion Lewis to a one year deal which is worth 1.5 million. The Giants needed a running back who is reliable and can give Saquon Barkley well-deserved rest. Luckily, the Giants found the perfect guy, no disrespect to Wayne Gallman, but he is just not the answer.

Wayne Gallman’s 2019 stats

In 2019, Wayne Gallman started in two games after Saquon went down with a high ankle sprain. Throughout the season, there was not much to cheer about, Gallman had 110 rushing yard and only two touchdowns. Even when Barkley was healthy, Gallman would only average 11 rushing yards a game. As you can see, Gallman was never a go-to option like Saquon is, Daniel Jones had to rely on throwing the ball often. This was no easy task for Jones, Saquon was out for three weeks after his first start and Gallman never was. Overall, Gallman had one standout game in the absence of Barkley. In my mind, Gallman is a backup NFL running back. He’s better off on another team that needs a backup because Dion Lewis is going to take all his touches.

Dion Lewis’ 2019 stats

Dion Lewis played a much smaller role in 2019, he was backing up star running back, Derrick Henry in Tennessee. In 2019, Dion lewis only started in one game and ran the ball 54 times for 209 yards. This is not the Dion Lewis most people are used to seeing, but he still is an upgrade over Wayne Gallman for multiple reasons.

Effective in the passing game

Back in New England, Dion Lewis was used in the short passing game. A lot of screen passes were used along with some out routes that fit lewis’ playstyle well. I can see Dion Lewis helping the Giants with his versatility, I see Jason Garrett calling a lot of screen passes, and bubble screens. With an upgraded offensive line, the Giants offense will have more time to set up screen passes and routes designed for Lewis. This signing of Lewis was huge, the Giants haven’t had a solid running back duo since Jacobs and Bradshaw.

Will give Barkley well needed rest

All Giants’ fans know that Saquon is the star running back, but it will be nice having Lewis as a backup. A guy who is effective in both ground and passing game will allow Saquon to be at his best late in games. Last season, Barkley played on every offensive down basically. If the Giants want him to last seven-plus years, they need to start protecting him. Finally, Dion Lewis will be a huge factor for the Giants in 2020.

Giants’ Wayne Gallman has been relegated to third string

New York Giants, Wayne Gallman

The New York Giants’ running game is thought by many to be dead on arrival this year. The injury to star back Saquon Barkley has slowed them somewhat but the numbers aren’t too much off from last year when Barkley rushed for 1,307 yards. The Giants are currently ranked 26th in the NFL, averaging 93.8 yards per game. That’s quite a bit lower than they were last season when they were 24th and averaging 103.1 yards per but it seems like it should be more.

The backfield has taken on a new dynamic this season. Barkley missed three games with a high ankle sprain and hasn’t been able to crack the century mark since retuning to the lineup in Week 7.

His primary backup, Wayne Gallman, has been eclipsed on the depth chart by Javorius “Buck” Allen, who the Giants signed as a free agent in mid-October. Last week, Gallman was a healthy scratch against the Eagles.

“I know it’s a very tough situation for him I’m sure,” Giants running back coach Craig Johnson told reporters about Gallman on Friday. “As I told him, and I tell all my guys in my room, you’ll cheer for your teammate. I know that’s hard for him to do but we’re giving him a look, you just have to be ready to play. Any time you are not a starter you have to prepare yourself mentally and physically like you are a starter. When your opportunity comes get ready to play. You have to battle through that adversity.”

Allen, meanwhile, only touched the football once on Monday night in Philadelphia for a gain of four yards. Johnson explained why he jumped Gallman on the depth chart.

“He’s really done a good job on the practice field. I think he’s shown some good physical running, he’s very good in pass protection and he’s caught the ball well. Since he’s shown so much, we just want to give him a look, give him an opportunity to get out there and play and see what he can do. He’s done well with what he’s had so far. Obviously, the more chances he gets to touch the ball, he’ll get even more comfortable.”

So, what does Gallman have to do to get his spot back?

“I don’t know if he necessarily needs to do anything better,” said Johnson. ” I just think it’s more of Buck has been on our roster for a long time, he’s done a lot of good things and we are rewarding him with some playing time.”

 

New York Giants news, 10/19 – Sterling Shepard’s return imminent, Saquon Barkley unleashed

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

While New York Giants’ top wide receiver Sterling Shepard will miss Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals, his recovery is going far better than most anticipated initially. After suffering his second concussion of the season against the Minnesota Vikings in week five, Shepard was forced to miss last Thursday’s gamer against the New England Patriots.

Some believed that Shep could miss several months, as numerous concussions in a season can be detrimental to one’s health. The pass-catcher has been sporting yellow non-contact jersey during individual drills in practice, but his designation against the Cardinals is “out.”

However, there’s hope that he will return against the Detroit Lions next week, but that’s still uncertain.

In the absence of Shepard, Golden Tate and Evan Engram will see increased roles. Engram is returning after missing last week due to a sprain MCL. Having the tight end available will be a massive boost for rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, considering how successful they had been together before the injury.

Engram is a massive part of the offense and has been a focal point so far this season. Racking up 373 yards and two scores over five games, he’s on pace for 1,119 yards (includes missed game) and six scores. He would not only be the Giants’ best receiver if those numbers come to fruition, but he’d be an established option for Jones moving forward. In just his third season, the Giants still have control over him for two more seasons, which is a very positive fact.

Saquon Barkley making a return:

Saquon Barkley will be available against Arizona on Sunday, as well as backup, Wayne Gallman. Barkley has been taking his high ankle sprain day-by-day but stated earlier in the week that it would be able to hold up in live-action. The Giants will undoubtedly take the safe route with their star running back, but at 2-4, they have no time to waste.

I anticipate the Giants fully unleashing Barkley, as playing him conservatively would not be worth activating him. If he’s ready to go, we should expect him to get close toa  full workload.

Nonetheless–

Your top news of the day:

Zach Braziller – Giants reaching full strength with Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram returns

Alexander Wilson – New York Giants: Just how good has Dexter Lawrence been in his rookie season?

Ed Valentine – Giants’ Markus Golden returning to pass rush excellence

Zach Braziller – Giants’ Jabrill Peppers gives blunt take on his own game

Anthony Rivardo – New York Giants: Kyler Murray Could Cause A Lot Of Problems For The Giants Defense On Sunday

New York Giants news, 10/10 – 3 keys to victory, injuries, Golden Tate, Jon Hilliman

New York Giants, Golden Tate

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

Defeating the New England Patriots will be an intimidating task for the New York Giants and their battered squad. They will be heading into Foxborough missing several vital starters — Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Wayne Gallman, and Ryan Connelly.

The injuries will force backup players into starting roles against the league’s top defense, which justifies a lack of optimism for the Giants going into week six. However, it will allow others to elevate their game and show they can compete at the professional level.

Here are three keys for the New York Giants against the Patriots:

1.) Jon Hilliman must have the game of his life

The trick to beating the Patriots is dominating possession, and the Giants are without their starting running back and immediate backup. Hilliman struggled mightily against the Minnesota Vikings last weekend, earning just 20-yards on nine carries. He must be more efficient this week, allowing the Giants to hold onto the ball and keep the defense off the field.

2.) Golden Tate must be a consistent target for Daniel Jones

Tate was practically non-existent against the Vikings, but that was expected given the fact that it was his first game back from suspension. He recorded 13-yards on three catches. In his second week back, rookie passer Daniel Jones needs him to step up and be a trustworthy option, especially without Barkley, Engram, and Shepard featured in the lineup.

Tate is a quality pass-catcher that can dominate, but his lack of chemistry with Jones will be a progressing factor.

3.) The pass rush must get to Tom Brady

As seen in the two Super Bowl wins over the Patriots, the key is getting to Brady and forcing him to rush. The Pats utilize an up-tempo offense with quick reads and short throws, which makes getting to Brady difficult. However, stopping their run game and dominating at the line of scrimmage is an absolute necessity if the Giants have any hopes of competing in this contest.

Nonetheless–

Your top news of the day:

Pat Ragazzo – 5 reasons Giants could upset Patriots in Week 6

Mark Schofield – Film room: How Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones handles pressure
John Schmeelk – Film Study: Keys for Giants on Thursday night
Oliver Thomas – Patriots vs. Giants Wednesday injury report: Phillip Dorsett out, six others questionable for New England

Alexander Wilson – How the New York Giants can compete against the New England Patriots

New York Giants get bad injury news ahead of Patriots showdown

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are preparing to face off against an intimidating New York New England patriots team on Thursday night football, but they have several injuries on both sides of the ball, which will undoubtedly hurt their chances.

Last week, there was plenty of optimism that star running back Saquon Barkley would be able to play against the patriots, but reports have stated that the Giants are not going to risk his long-term health and will rest him at least one more game. Forcing him to play on a high ankle sprain against a team that will realistically beat the Giants by a large margin, doesn’t make much sense.

Saving Barkley for the future and ensuring he’s 100% healthy when he returns should be the goal and priority. Barkley injured his ankle in the first half of the week three win against the Tampa Bay buccaneers — he left the game with a walking boot on and using his crutches to stabilize himself.

Initially, most believe that Barkley would return after the BYE in week 12 against the Chicago Bears, but his miraculous recovery spread optimism that he might even be able to play last Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

The New York Giants journey forward with a ton of injuries:

Barkley’s backup, Wayne Gallman, suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the Vikings, and Sterling Shepard suffered the same. Shepard’s injury will keep them out for a few weeks considering this is the second concussion he has picked up the season. Also, star tight and Evan Engram has a sore knee and could miss the game on Thursday as well.

The Patriots have allowed just two touchdowns in five games, so having to venture forward without four primary playmakers will make it very difficult for the Giants to have any success.

Hopefully, linebackers Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis will return to bolster the middle of the defense, which featured David Mayo and Nate Super last week against Minnesota. The center of the defense was thrashed, and the Giants missed 12 tackles in a disappointing effort in week five.